Aaj.tv Logo

Balochistan’s Chilgoza forest burns for 12th day

Updated 21 May, 2022
<p>The Chilgoza Forest nestled in Balochistan’s Suleiman Range is being ravaged by a blazing forest fire. Hundreds of hectares have been reduced to ash, threatening wildlife and local communities, WWF-Pakistan tweeted. Picture via Twitter/<a rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank" class="link--external" href="https://twitter.com/WWFPak">@WWFPak</a></p>

The Chilgoza Forest nestled in Balochistan’s Suleiman Range is being ravaged by a blazing forest fire. Hundreds of hectares have been reduced to ash, threatening wildlife and local communities, WWF-Pakistan tweeted. Picture via Twitter/@WWFPak

The Pakistan Army, FC personnel and Pakistan Rangers have been called in to help extinguish a fire in Balochistan’s Chilgoza (pinenut ) forest, said the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) spokesperson. The fire has been burning for 12 days and has taken at least three lives, reported Aaj News on Saturday.

The fire has now spread to two districts in the province, spreading over at least six acres of land. A helicopter has also been deployed to try and contain the blaze. NDMA has provided the Balochistan government with necessary fire-fighting equipment.

The mountainous terrain has not made it easier to control the fire. The pinenut forest is one of the largest in the world and is also home to wildlife such as deer.

“The Chilgoza Forest nestled in Balochistan’s Suleiman Range is being ravaged by a blazing forest fire. Hundreds of hectares have been reduced to ash, threatening wildlife and local communities,” World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) Pakistan tweeted.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took notice of the disaster and expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives. He directed the federal institutions to take emergency measures with the provincial government to put off the fire.

The premier appointed Federal Minister for Housing and Works Molana Abdul Wasay as his special representative to augment and better coordinate firefighting efforts with regard to wildfires in districts of Sheerani and Musakhel of Balochistan province and district Dera Ismail Khan of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, reported Radio Pakistan.

Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo directed officials to use all available resources and the assistance of international institutions for the safety of human lives and animals in the affected area.

A safe city comprised of at least 100 camps was set up at the foothill of the affected area where food and other necessary items were being provided.

Supreme Court judge Justice Jamal Khan Mandokhail requested the chief justice of Pakistan to take a suo motu notice of the situation as the fire was imposing serious threats to wildlife and the environment. The chief justice should issue orders of dealing effectively with the situation, he added.

Federal Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman while chairing a meeting of the PM’s Task Force on Climate Change asked NDMA to help with forest fire in Balochistan.